GIEWS Country Brief: Central African Republic 03-August-2018


  • Unfavourable production prospects for 2018 crops due to generalized decline in cropping area as a result of deteriorating civil security situation

  • Food access continues to be severely constrained by disrupted livelihoods, reduced production and sharply-curtailed market activities

  • Food prices have risen in recent months

  • Dire food security situation for large segments of population, strong livelihood support required

Unfavourable production prospects for 2018 crops

The 2018 main maize harvest is currently underway in the southern bi-modal rainfall areas, while in the uni-modal northern provinces, sorghum and millet crops are being sown for harvest in October.

According to satellite-based information, favourable weather conditions prevailed from March during the cropping season in the southern maize-producing areas. However, persisting civil insecurity has negatively affected crop production following a significant reduction in area planted due to the abandonment of a substantial number of farms. Furthermore, the reduced aggregate output for five consecutive years has led to the depletion of the already inadequate household productive assets, particularly seeds and farming tools. As a result, the 2018 aggregate output is preliminarily estimated to be below average and significantly reduced compared to the pre-crisis levels in 2013.

Food prices have risen in recent months

Food prices have risen in recent months in most northwest, southeast and central conflict-affected areas as food and livestock markets continue to be disrupted by the ongoing conflict. In these areas, market activity and market supplies remain below average.

The average annual inflation rate declined in recent years and fell to 3.7 percent in 2017 compared to 4.6 percent in 2016. The general decline in prices was mostly demand-driven as disrupted livelihoods, reduced employment opportunities and limited availability have severely curtailed households’ purchasing power. In 2018, the average annual inflation rate is expected to fall slightly below the 2017 levels.

Alarming food security situation for large segments of population due to persisting conflict

Violent clashes and inter-communal tensions have continuously increased since 2017 resulting in the widespread disruption of agricultural and marketing activities as well as exacerbated the massive displacements, with a severe negative impact on both food availability and access. According to UNHCR, as of end-June 2018, the IDP caseload was estimated at about 608 000 people. The conflicts that led to the displacement of the populations is also restricting humanitarian access and disrupting agricultural activities.

Five consecutive years of reduced harvests, compounded by access constraints due to market disruptions and declining purchasing power, result in an alarming food security situation across the country. Furthermore, due to civil insecurity, it remains difficult to provide humanitarian assistance in many areas thus raising the concern of food insecurity. Since late 2017, the quantity of the food in-take for large segments of the population has been reportedly reduced and the dietary diversity has also drastically worsened through the substitution of more nutritious cereal and vegetable staples with cassava and the sharp reduction of animal proteins in-take. This widespread dietary deterioration raises serious concerns in terms of nutrition and health. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), valid for the period from March to August 2018, about 2 million people (34 percent of the total population) are estimated to be in need of urgent assistance (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”) of which more than 686 000 people face IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”.

Insecurity remains the leading cause affecting the households’ access to food and their livelihoods, making it difficult to conduct agricultural and livestock activities. A timely and effective support to the agricultural sector is required to mitigate the extent of the impact of the protracted and widespread insecurity on the agricultural sector.

To help avert a full-scale nutrition and food security crisis, FAO plans to assist 1.1 million severely food insecure people through the distribution of seeds and farming tools as well as providing cash transfers and income-generating activities.

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